Child trafficking and what to do about it?


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Kids as Commodities?

Child trafficking and what to do about it?

Copyright © International Federation Terre des Hommes, Terre des Hommes Foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland and Terre des Hommes Germany, May 2004 ISBN number: 2-9700457-0-2
This study has been produced with the financial assistance of the Oak Foundation, the Terre des Hommes Foundation in Lausanne, Switzerland ( and Terre des Hommes Germany ( The views expressed are those of Terre des Hommes.
Terre des Hommes was created in 1960 to provide direct help to underprivileged children who were not being helped by existing relief agencies. Today it consists of a network of organisations based in eight different countries, the International Federation Terre des Hommes (IFTDH), which has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), UNICEF, ILO and the Council of Europe. The network works in partnership with Terre des Hommes organisations in Spain and the Netherlands. Members of the IFTDH support 840 development and humanitarian aid projects in 71 countries.
The countries where members of the IFTDH have their headquarters are: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland (where there are two organisations, Terre des Hommes Switzerland and the Terre des Hommes Foundation in Lausanne) and Syria. The author of this study is Mike Dottridge, an independent human rights consultant. From 1996 until 2002 he was director of a London-based non-governmental organisation, Anti-Slavery International, where much of his work focused on cases of human trafficking, of both adults and children. In 2002 he was part of a panel of UN experts which helped draft human rights guidelines concerning victims of trafficking. He lives and works in the United Kingdom.

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Child trafficking and what to do about it?

  1. 1. Kids as Commodities? Child trafficking and what to do about it Kids as Commodities? 1 Terre des Hommes
  2. 2. ‘Kids as Commodities? Child Trafficking and Terre des Hommes in Germany and Peter Brey, Ignacio What to do about it’ Packer and Pierre Philippe of the Terre des Hommes Foun- dation in Switzerland. More broadly, this study has at- tempted to build on analytical frameworks developed by Copyright © International Federation Terre des Hommes, others in four continents. I am particularly grateful to Ann Terre des Hommes Foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland and Jordan and Matt Friedman for advice given to me over the Terre des Hommes Germany, May 2004 years, and to my friends in West Africa, Cléophas Mally, Elkane Mooh, Norbert Fanou Ako and Salia Kante, and ISBN number: 2-9700457-0-2 to a long line of researchers who have shown that well intentioned interventions do not always have the impact This study has been produced with the financial assistance which is expected. Thanks are also due to a large number of the Oak Foundation, the Terre des Hommes Founda- of others who provided information so willingly in the tion in Lausanne, Switzerland ( and Terre des hope of seeing methods to protect children improve. Hommes Germany ( The views expressed are Thanks also to Christiane Bruttin, of Terre des Hommes those of Terre des Hommes. Switzerland, for her contribution on lay-out and printing. Terre des Hommes was created in 1960 to provide direct The names attributed to individual children in this study help to underprivileged children who were not (in case studies or photographs) are not their real names. being helped by existing relief agencies. Today it consists Fictional names have been used to protect the children of a network of organisations based in eight different concerned. countries, the International Federation Terre des Hommes (IFTDH), which has consultative status with the United Photograph credits Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Photographs on page 12, page 41, page 62 UNICEF, ILO and the Council of Europe. The network and page 65 : © Terre des Hommes Germany works in partnership with Terre des Hommes organisations Photograph on page 23 : © Veit Mette in Spain and the Netherlands. Members of the Photograph on page 27 : © CDP/Anti-Slavery IFTDH support 840 development and humanitarian aid International projects in 71 countries. Photograph on page 35 : © Erick Christian Ahounou Photograph on page 47 (and cover page) and The countries where members of the IFTDH have their on page 71 : © Andrea Motta headquarters are: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Photograph on page 69 : Mike Dottridge Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland (where there are two ©Anti-Slavery International organisations, Terre des Hommes Switzerland and the Terre Photograph on page 78 : © Jörg Böthling des Hommes Foundation in Lausanne) and Syria. The author of this study is Mike Dottridge, an independ- For more information on Terre des Hommes’ International ent human rights consultant. From 1996 until 2002 he was Campaign Against Child Trafficking, consult the cam- director of a London-based non-governmental organisa- paign’s web-site : tion, Anti-Slavery International, where much of his work focused on cases of human trafficking, of both adults and children. In 2002 he was part of a panel of UN experts which helped draft human rights guidelines concerning Designed by Martine Cavalar victims of trafficking. He lives and works in the United Cover page by Barbara Monteleone Kingdom. Author’s acknowledgements This study would not have been possible without the sup- port and comments from a large number of people, es- pecially Eylah Kadjar-Hamouda, without whose constant support and advice the study would not have seen the light of day. She provided comments, edited the text and coped marvellously with all the challenges of finalising the text. Many of her colleagues in Terre des Hommes around the world have provided comments, particularly Raffaele K. Salinari, President of the International Federation Terre des Hommes, Vincent Tournecuillert of the Terre des Hommes Foundation in Albania, Boris Scharlowski of Kids as Commodities? 2 Terre des Hommes
  3. 3. Kids as Commodities? Child trafficking and what to do about it by Mike Dottridge Foreword by Graça Machel Kids as Commodities? 3 Terre des Hommes
  4. 4. CONTENTS Foreword by Graça Machel 12 Chapter 1 Introduction 14 Chapter 2 What is ‘child trafficking’? 16 Trafficking in the context of migration 16 Is child trafficking something new? 18 Migrants, prostitution, and trafficking 18 The difference between the trafficking of children and trafficking of adult women 19 Different ways of trafficking children 19 Patterns of cross-border trafficking around the world 20 How many children are trafficked each year? 21 Chapter 3 How trafficked children are exploited 23 Commercial sexual exploitation 23 Marriage 25 Adoption 25 Slavery and bonded labour 26 Child domestic servants 26 Child beggars 27 Children in illicit activities 27 Hazardous child labour 27 Organ extraction and trafficking 27 Chapter 4 Why children are available for traffickers 28 Poverty, globalisation and restrictions on migration 28 Lack of education 29 Other social factors 29 Discrimination 29 Cultural norms 29 Domestic violence 30 Crises: natural and man-made 30 Ambition and hope 30 Chapter 5 Who helps trafficking to occur? 32 Organised crime or small-scale criminals? 32 Others who facilitate trafficking 33 Transport workers 33 Professionals 33 Officials who help traffickers 33 Chapter 6 The harm caused to children from trafficking 34 Coercion to make children obey orders 34 The effects of exploitation 35 The specific effects of commercial sexual exploitation 35 Chapter 7 Responses to child trafficking and respecting child rights 38 Implication of trafficking as a gender issue 39 Kids as Commodities? 4 Terre des Hommes
  5. 5. Chapter 8 Standards at the international level for responding to child trafficking 41 The definition of trafficking in international law 41 What the trafficking protocol requires governments to do 42 Forms of exploitation linked to child trafficking 43 Commercial adoption –involving ‘improper gain’ 43 Organ trafficking 43 Regional conventions on child trafficking 43 International guidelines on how trafficked children should be treated 44 UN High Commissioner for Refugees guidelines 44 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recommendations and guidelines on human trafficking 44 Unicef’s guidelines for protection of the rights of children victims of trafficking 45 Chapter 9 Actors involved in stopping child trafficking and assisting children 47 NGOs and civil society 47 Law enforcement agencies 48 Other statutory bodies 48 Inter-governmental organisations 49 Keeping the UN informed about child trafficking 49 Ensuring that different organisations work together 50 Transnational NGO networks 50 NGOs working together in their own country 50 Law enforcement working with NGOs 51 Cooperation with the authorities in criminal investigations 51 NGOs working with inter-governmental organisations and other governments 51 Chapter 10 Laws and action on child trafficking at national level 53 Enacting law 53 Getting the wording of the law right 53 Using prosecutions to provide compensation to trafficked children 54 Laws that are too harsh 54 Extraterritorial jurisdiction 54 Implementing the law 54 Agreeing other minimum standards at national level 55 Avoiding causing harm to children 55 Chapter 11 Finding out the facts 57 Techniques for collecting information 57 Consulting children 58 Indirect indications that child trafficking may be occurring 59 Collecting information systematically 59 Common difficulties 59 The risks of estimates and statistics 59 The dangers of exaggeration and speculation 61 Being aware of different patterns of child trafficking 61 Challenging preconceptions 61 Kids as Commodities? 5 Terre des Hommes
  6. 6. Chapter 12 Campaigning against child trafficking 62 Choosing the aims of a campaign 62 Measuring success 62 Campaigning techniques 62 Pressure on a government abroad 63 United Arab Emirates 63 Terre des Hommes’ International Campaign against Child Trafficking 63 Fine-tuning the campaign message for Germany 64 Fine-tuning the campaign message for Mozambique 65 Chapter 13 Publicity as a technique to combat child trafficking 66 Achieving a break-through with publicity 66 Shaming governments into taking action against trafficking 66 Predicting the effects of publicity 66 Fictional representations of child trafficking in films 67 Chapter 14 Preventing children from being trafficked 69 Near to home – preventing trafficking where children are recruited 69 Birth registration 69 Education 69 Increasing household income 70 Information campaigns to increase awareness of the risk of trafficking 70 Information for specific audiences 71 Social work 72 Difficulties to overcome 72 Away from home – prevention in places where children are exploited 72 Help-lines 72 Educating employers 72 Educating ‘consumers’ (tackling ‘demand’) 73 Influencing men who buy sex 74 Chapter 15 Identifying and rescuing children who have been trafficked 75 Recognising children who have been trafficked 75 Unaccompanied minors 76 Interception while children are in transit 76 Intervening on behalf of children being exploited 76 ‘Rescues’ 77 Chapter 16 Protecting trafficked children and enabling them to recover 78 Protecting children who have been rescued 79 Shelters, transit centres and residential care 79 Protection from traffickers and other threats outside 79 Protective custody 79 Protection from abuse while in a transit home 80 Recovering from physical and psychological harm 80 Treatment of children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation 81 Education and training 81 Chapter 17 Making a new start 83 Returning home 83 Government policies on repatriation 83 NGO approaches to repatriation 83 Family reunification 84 Issues concerning family reunification for children trafficked when very young 84 Preparing the family and home community 84 Protecting children who are at risk of being trafficked again 84 Alternatives to family reunification 85 Kids as Commodities? 6 Terre des Hommes
  7. 7. Chapter 18 Conclusions and recommendations 86 To the international community 86 To governments 87 To donors financing counter-trafficking work 87 To NGO’s 87 Endnotes 89 References 95 The treaties and guidelines mentioned here can all be downloaded, in English, French and Spanish, as well as some other languages, from the websites of the international organisations concerned. for the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. for the World Health Organization’s Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Interviewing Trafficked Women. for UNICEF’s Principles for ethical reporting on children. for UNICEF’s Guidelines for Protection of the Rights of Children Victims of Trafficking. for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Recommended Pinciples and Guidelines. Kids as Commodities? 7 Terre des Hommes
  8. 8. Acronyms and initials used in the text ARSIS Association for the Social Support of Youth (NGO in Greece) ECPAT End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (previously End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) EU European Union ICACT (Terre des Hommes) International Campaign Against Child Trafficking IFTDH International Federation Terre des Hommes ILO International Labour Organization ILO-IPEC See IPEC IOM International Organization for Migration IPEC International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (part of ILO and referred to as ILO-IPEC) NGO Non-governmental organisation OAS Organization of American States OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe TDH Terre des Hommes TICSA Trafficking in Children – South Asia (part of ILO-IPEC) UAM Unaccompanied minor UN United Nations UNESCO UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNIAP UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund UNODC UN Office on Drugs and Crime (the secretariat for the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Trafficking Protocol), which runs a Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings US United States of America WHO World Health Organization Kids as Commodities? 8 Terre des Hommes
  9. 9. Executive Summary difficult to notice or to prohibit. Girls are the chief victims of trafficking associated with the first three forms of exploitation, both sexual exploitation and work as This study of child trafficking describes a pattern of domestics; however, boys are also trafficked and both human rights violations affecting at least one million boys and girls are subjected to most forms of exploitation. children today - probably many more. It concerns the business of taking children away from their homes and Of course, not all children who migrate to work away families, transporting them elsewhere, often across from home are victims of traffickers. It is important for frontiers and even to other continents, to be put to use child rights activists to distinguish between children who by others, usually to make money. This is a heart-rending are migrating in search of a better future, and deserve sup- pattern of abuse, but the study explains in as port in their efforts, and children who are being moved by unsentimental way as possible what can be done to stop others so that they can be subjected to exploitation and child trafficking and to protect children who are abuse later on. In reality, it is often hard to tell the trafficked. As the efforts of government agencies and difference and, by not making any distinction, counter- inter-governmental organisations have been described in trafficking measures have sometimes harmed migrant other reports, this study focuses on what children. non-governmental organisations can do, with the intention of showing them what techniques there is Because of the diversity involved in child trafficking agreement on and what needs further discussion. – both boys and girls are trafficked; children of all ages are involved, some young and some almost adult; and traf- Until a few years ago, the term ‘trafficking’ was inter- ficked children are exploited in different ways – the preted to refer to children and adults subjected to com- opportunities for intervening to protect children vary as mercial sexual exploitation in prostitution. However, a well. In order to prevent children from being trafficked new definition of human trafficking was adopted by the in the first place, it is necessary to understand the motives United Nations (UN) in 2000 in a Protocol to Prevent, that children have for leaving home, or that their families Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially have for allowing them to leave. The right preventive Women and Children. This makes it clear that human strategy must be adapted to match the particular motives beings are trafficked for many different purposes, all of that people have. Similarly, efforts to remove children them defined as ‘exploitation’. The Protocol makes a from the control of traffickers must be tailored to the distinction between ‘trafficking’ and ‘people smuggling’, specific circumstances that children find themselves in. which involves taking people across borders illegally, but without the same intention of exploiting them afterwards. While trafficking children is always a crime, the specific The Protocol concentrates on people who are trafficked forms of harm inflicted on children as a result vary, both across frontiers, but children and adults are also trafficked in the short- and the long-term. This too needs to be within their own countries. Most statistics about traffick- taken into account in assessing what sorts of support ing refer exclusively to cross-border trafficking and are children need when they are removed from the hands of very imprecise. In 2003 the International Labour their traffickers or exploiters. It is mainly girls who are Organization estimated that 1.2 million children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and exposed trafficked each year. to sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections and related forms of harm. These have a profound effect on Trafficking in children is directly associated with their the children concerned, which require forms of treatment subsequent exploitation by other people in a way that that are correspondingly different to those needed by violates their human rights – usually by being forced to children who have been programmed like robots to work make money for them by working, but in the case of long hours as domestic drudges or workers in sweatshops babies who are trafficked for adoption and young women or in the fields. trafficked for marriage, to satisfy the demands of those who take control of them in other ways. The eight forms As well as adopting treaties and conventions designed to of exploitation described in some detail are: commercial stop trafficking, the principal UN agencies concerned with sexual exploitation (for prostitution or pornography), human rights and with children have recently adopted marriage, work as domestic servants, adoption, bonded guidelines concerning children who are trafficked. These labour, begging, other illicit activities (such as burglaries) are addressed chiefly at government agencies which are and work that is so hazardous that it endangers the health responsible for assisting and protecting trafficked children or life of the child concerned. All are characterised by and for deciding what should happen to them subsequent- constraints imposed on the movement of the children ly. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights involved, who are virtually held captive. However, the issued a set of Recommended Principles and Guidelines on degree of force or intimidation which is needed to control Human Rights and Human Trafficking in 2002 and UNICEF a young child is very different to the coercion used on issued a set of Guidelines for Protection of the Rights of Children older children (or adults), and is consequently more Victims of Trafficking in 2003 which were designed Kids as Commodities? 9 Terre des Hommes
  10. 10. especially for Southeast Europe. Both emphasise that ineffective and that it often has negative side-effects for government agencies and other institutions involved in the children involved. The adoption of the UN Traffick- making decisions about trafficked children must make the ing Protocol in 2000 is leading many countries to amend best interests of the child concerned a primary their law on human trafficking, but so far few of these consideration in any decisions they take. take the specific characteristics of child trafficking into account, notably the different nature of coercion that UNICEF’s Guidelines cover 11 separate issues: the traffickers exert over children to move them or make process for identifying children who have been trafficked; them do as they are told, by comparison with the forms appointing a guardian for each trafficked child; their of coercion used to control trafficked adults. questioning by the authorities; referral to appropriate services and inter-agency coordination; interim care and Equally negative for trafficked children has been the protection; regularisation of a child’s status in a country practice, reported in countries in every continent, of other than their own (so that the child has a legal right to police detaining children who have been trafficked and be in the country); case assessment and identification of summarily deporting them to their country of origin, what is called a ‘durable solution’; implementing a durable often without referring them to either the courts or other solution, including possible return to a child’s country of legal authorities and repatriating them without paying any origin and own family; access to justice; protection of the attention to their obligation to take the children’s best child as a victim and potential witness in prosec- interests into account when making decisions about them. utions of traffickers; and training for both government Government agencies should be urged to refrain from and other agencies dealing with child victims of traf- summarily deporting any child who might have been traf- ficking. Although these Guidelines were developed in the ficked, just as they should refrain from treating children as specific context of Southeast Europe, all the guidelines are criminals on account of offences they have committed as applicable to every child victim of trafficking anywhere a result of being trafficked (whether this involves an of- in the world. However, in reality today hardly any of the fence committed under pressure, such as a theft, begging guidelines are observed anywhere. They consequently or prostitution, or an immigration offence). Governments provide non-governmental organisations and others in- should also be urged to avoid over-general responses to volved in efforts to stop child trafficking with an agenda trafficking, which have the effect of further violating for action for the next few years. children’s rights, such as blanket bans on children travelling to certain countries. In addition to UNICEF, numerous other inter- governmental agencies are involved in counter-trafficking A wide range of initiatives on child trafficking have been initiatives. Most belong to the UN system. However, with taken by non-governmental organisations. These include: the exception of Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe, there is rarely any formal coordination of their counter- • research and investigations to find out if children are trafficking activities, resulting sometimes in confusion or being trafficked, or to identify precisely which children are duplication. In order to ensure more effective coordin- most at risk; ation, non-governmental organisations and others should press for the appointment of a UN high level mechanism • campaigns and publicity to make the public and govern- on human trafficking with special responsibility to ensure ment policy-makers aware of the nature and scale of child that inter-governmental agencies work together effectively trafficking – often in the face of government disbelief; and with a mandate to find out what factors are imped- ing progress in counter-trafficking initiatives concerning either children or adults, and to recommend the changes • efforts to prevent child trafficking from occurring and necessary. At present the UN Commission on Human to protect individual children who are at risk of being traf- Rights has a Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, ficked; Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, who is mandated to receive information and suggest what • intercepting trafficked children while they are in transit, individual governments and others should do to stop child or identifying them after they have arrived at their destin- trafficking. However the Special Rapporteur does not ation and are being exploited and arranging for police or coordinate initiatives taken by UN agencies. other intervention to release the children concerned; Although the efforts of governments to prevent traffick- • providing residential care and protection to children ing and punish traffickers are not the main focus of this who have escaped from their traffickers or who have been study, it is important for NGOs to take into account that rescued, including medical attention, psychosocial most governments regard prosecuting traffickers and counselling and other treatment to help them recover deterring others by imposing heavy sentences as the main from trauma; plank of their counter-trafficking policy. NGOs need to be aware that so far this approach seems to be singularly • supporting trafficked children in the next phase of their Kids as Commodities? 10 Terre des Hommes
  11. 11. lives, deciding whether they should return home or even who buy hand-knotted carpets made by trafficked to their country of origin or community where they lived children, but not enough has been done yet to dissuade before being trafficked, and acquiring the basic skills they adult men and boys not to pay for sex with teenage girls. need to look after themselves and to earn their living in the future. Once children have been trafficked, NGOs have a role to play in identifying children being exploited, but a great In all these initiatives, the best interests of the children deal still needs to be learnt about the best ways of doing involved should be the key factor in any decision about this. One obvious priority is to insist that governments what is going to happen to them. This means avoiding enforce their existing laws against all the forms of inflicting any further harm on trafficked children, even if exploitation associated with trafficking (generally referred it is not intentional. There have been plenty of initiatives to as ‘the worst forms of child labour’), which many are which have been well intentioned, but had bad results for failing to do. children who have been trafficked. In the case of research and publicity, it means giving serious consideration to NGOs play a leading role in looking after child victims the children’s security, avoiding jeopardising their safety of trafficking once they have escaped or been rescued. A and ensuring that journalists who want to report on the great deal has already been learnt about the most issue of child trafficking are well enough briefed to avoid appropriate and effective techniques to use, based on the revealing a trafficked child’s identity. Recent World Health premise that young people should not be kept in Organization Guiding Principles for the ethical and safe conduct of residential care for any longer than is absolutely necessary. interviews with women who have been trafficked are helpful as far This sometimes involves difficult decisions: for example, as children are concerned (as well as adult women), as are whether children should be confined to a residential home UNICEF’s Principles for ethical reporting on children. in order to protect them from those outside who trafficked or exploited them. While the conventional idea NGOs frequently carry out investigations to establish that they should be helped to return to their country and whether children are being trafficked and need community of origin is sometimes appropriate, in many protection. It would often be more appropriate to cases this is not in their best interests and NGOs should investigate the situation of a wider group of children, look for alternative futures for the children concerned. those migrating away from home, than to focus only on Either way, it is important to follow up and to ensure that children being trafficked, in order to get a wider under- children who return home are not ‘re-trafficked’ once standing of the context in which child trafficking occurs. again. NGOs have initiated a wide range of campaigning activities about child trafficking, sometimes with the general intention of informing the public that trafficking is occurring, and encouraging everyone to look for solutions, and sometimes with much more specific objectives, in order to persuade politicians to amend a law or to end the mistreatment of trafficked children. Different techniques have been successful and the priority is now to ensure that the impact of campaigns, along with other initiatives, is evaluated and measured as carefully as possible. Terre des Hommes started an international campaign against child trafficking in 2001, which is scheduled to continue until 2005. The most effective campaigns to prevent children from being trafficked are based on a thorough understanding of the factors which children and their parents (or others) take into account when considering whether (and when) to leave home. ‘Top down’ prevention campaigns, which simply impose a message that ‘migration is dangerous because of the risk of falling into the hands of traffickers’, seem much less likely to be effective. ‘Prevention’ also includes influencing people who create a demand for the services or products of trafficked children. Efforts have already been made to influence adults who employ child servants and consumers in wealthy countries Kids as Commodities? 11 Terre des Hommes
  12. 12. Foreword by Graça Machel Dear Reader A s you are probably already aware, from Cape Town to London, from London to Hong Kong via Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Moscow and so on, from and to every conceivable place around the planet, thousands of will ever see their parents, friends and school colleagues again. people are crossing borders by land, sea or air, for a wide range of personal Some of us have probably also won- reasons. Without even paying special attention, we spot boys and girls dered who is behind the children we among the crowds, either travelling by themselves, or accompanied by see stretching their hands out to beg someone or in a group. Some of us have probably already wondered, as from grown-ups or running after adults and parents ourselves, whether these young passengers know where them, calling out at people to buy they are going, who and what is waiting for them on their arrival and if they something they are selling on the streets of Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Lagos, Lusaka, Maputo or somewhere else. Can any of the adults who brush by these children even imagine that, in every corner of the world, there are other children who cannot even be seen because they are not allowed to talk to others or to be treated as children, or even to walk out of the places they are kept, regardless of their screams and tears? Alas, throughout human history’s most tragic moments - during times of war, the slave trade and natural disasters - children have always been the ones to come off worst. Due to their small size and their poorly developed capacity to exercise good judgement and to distinguish between right and wrong, they are inevitably more vulnerable than adults. Even so, there are still people who think that trafficking in children only occurs when organised crime is in- volved or when children are transport- ed on a large-scale from one country or continent to another. But it is not always like this. When we look at the relationships between adults and children, there are many practices which, seen through the lens of recent standards and definitions adopted by the United Nations, amount to traf- ficking in persons and constitute a crime. To help you come to terms with this Graça Machel and her husband, Nelson Mandela reality, we are providing you with Kids as Commodities? 12 Terre des Hommes
  13. 13. this reference book describing the range of experiences organisations which can develop human capital to its of various organisations such as Terre des Hommes and its fullest potential and reduce poverty, rebuilding the social partners involved in the International Campaign Against fabric of values and ethics, with the aim of having one Child Trafficking (ICaCT). Launched in 2001 in Germany, specific beneficiary: children. Because children are flowers this initiative has created a network extending to Europe, that should never be allowed to wither. Africa, Asia and South America, which remains on high alert when it comes to protecting children’s rights. Graça Machel This report not only illustrates the vulnerability of children to human trafficking, but also explains the Patron of the Southern Africa Campaign Against Child Abuse and complexity of this phenomenon, which has no limits in Child Trafficking terms of when or where it occurs. Compared to classic slavery, this phenomenon has re-emerged today as a new form of slavery. It has developed new dimensions, become more sophisticated, taken on new shapes and reached new heights. At the same time, its aim is still the same: to make a few people rich by violating the most basic rights of others, in this particular case, of children. This degrading activity is currently considered to be one of the most lucrative illegal ways of making money in the world, alongside trafficking in drugs, weapons and women. Other factors highlighted in this study as contributing to child trafficking include: globalisation; political and economic instability and people’s increased mobility; increased access to information and communication technology (Internet); as well as natural disasters that leave millions of orphans dependent on others. As well as presenting the complexity of this problem on a grand scale and in a methodical way, this report on child trafficking presents various possible solutions, each of which is examined in such detail that it opens up the way ahead and presents a multidimensional set of remedies and ways of addressing the problem. ‘What is child trafficking’; ‘How trafficked children are exploited’; ‘What makes children vulnerable to trafficking’; and ‘What harm does trafficking cause children’ – these are just some of the questions that are dealt with, taking into account the particular characteristics of each part of the world, which in turn has been made possible by the existence of transnational networks such as the ICaCT. The report also praises the role of national and interna- tional non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and inter-governmental organisations in developing and sharing information, investigative techniques and methods for responding to child trafficking. All these allow lobbying to be more effective, laws to be amended and international instruments to be ratified by countries which have not already done so. In this way, we can develop new initiatives in each of our own countries which involve, in addition to the institutions already mentioned, the churches and other Kids as Commodities? 13 Terre des Hommes
  14. 14. Chapter 1 Introduction This study is about crimes committed against children and impressive. At the start, it is frequently NGOs that a pattern of serious violations of human rights affecting at publish revelations showing that children are being traf- least one million children today - probably many more. It ficked. While no-one else is addressing the issue, the same describes the business of taking children away from their NGOs follow up by taking action to make children and homes and families, transporting them elsewhere, often their families aware of the dangers of trafficking, or to across frontiers and even to other continents, to be put to provide direct assistance to abused children. Once others use by others, usually to make money. are aware of the problem and commit resources to deal- ing with it, NGOs continue with more focused activities, The crimes and abuse involved are nothing new, but there such as investigations to find out which children are most are signs that the problem has been growing worse. It at risk, or setting up transit centres for children who are is only in the last few years that the term ‘trafficking in recovering from their experience, waiting to rejoin their children’ has been applied to cases involving all sorts of families or receiving training to enable them to get on exploitation, rather than just to cases involving sexual with their lives exploitation. The children involved vary from new-born babies to grown-up 17-year-olds. Adults aged 18 or older Just as the crime and abuse involved in child trafficking are victims of trafficking too, but their predicament is not are not new, so the involvement of NGOs in counter- the subject of this study. trafficking activities has also been going on for a long time, although often without the NGOs involved using The first part of the study (Chapters 2 to 6) explains what the term ‘trafficking’. For more than a century there have child trafficking involves and why it occurs. The second been campaigns to stop teenage girls being recruited into part (Chapters 7 to 18) focuses on what can be done about prostitution. The issue took on a new lease of life in the this horrifying pattern of abuse, both to stop it and to late 1980s when large numbers of male tourists were seen protect the children who are its victims. Governments paying for commercial sex with young girls in Thailand have a responsibility to put an end to trafficking. They do and other Southeast Asian countries; a widely supported this mainly by mobilising their police to detect and arrest campaign, End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism traffickers and also by asking the international organ- (ECPAT), eventually transformed itself into an NGO isations they have helped set up, such as the United focusing on all young people subjected to commercial Nations (UN), to take action on the issue. Efforts by sexual exploitation. It was also in the 1980s and 1990s that government agencies at national level and those of inter- the economic exploitation of children began to provoke governmental organisations have been examined in many attention elsewhere, in South Asia, Latin America and other reports.1 Consequently most of the second part of West Africa. the study focuses on what voluntary organisations, also known as not-for-profit and non-governmental organ- ‘Child trafficking’ encompasses a range of practices that isations (NGOs), have done to prevent children from have already been condemned under other labels. The being trafficked and to assist children who have been traf- reason for considering the various forms of abuse in one ficked study is that the children involved are often the same, just as the strategies needed in response are similar. At the NGOs have proceeded by a process of trial and error, try- same time, the point is made in several chapters that dif- ing out different techniques, seeing what works and what ferent patterns of child trafficking require different does not. A few well-intentioned interventions turn out responses: there is no single ‘magic bullet’ or standard to be counter-productive for the very children intended response for all the different cases. In particular, traf- to benefit. The chapters in the second part of the study ficking provokes specific problems for children who are attempt to distinguish between good and bad practice, and moved from one country to another (‘cross-border traf- are intended to help NGOs and those who support them ficking’), rather than within their own countries, and for in deciding what they should and should not be doing children who are subjected to sexual exploitation, who to halt trafficking. These chapters are expected to be of are harmed in specific ways that require equally specific interest to NGOs, whether they are organised at inter- remedies. national, national or local level, and also to all those who fund or support them. They are also intended to be useful The issue of human trafficking (of adults as well as to government officials responsible for making policy on children) has received far more attention in the past five human trafficking and to law enforcement agencies in- years than at any time in the previous half century. volved in counter-trafficking operations. Government aid agencies in industrialised countries have been making more funds available than before to The range of activities undertaken by NGOs is support the counter-trafficking activities of both NGO Kids as Commodities? 14 Terre des Hommes
  15. 15. and inter-governmental organisations. A strong pressure for action has come from one country, the United States of America (US), since the enactment of a new law in the US on human trafficking at the end of 2000.2 In addition to redefining trafficking in US domestic law, this has an international dimension, requiring the US State Depart- ment to publish an annual report about human trafficking in other countries and allocating specific funds to finance counter-trafficking projects both in the US and elsewhere, which many NGOs working against child trafficking have benefited from.3 An international NGO, Terre des Hommes,4 has been running projects for many years to provide protection to children who have been trafficked, alongside other projects to assist child victims of abuse. In 2001, Terre des Hommes launched a campaign specifically against child trafficking and intensified its activities around the world to prevent children from being trafficked. Terre des Hommes is a network of nine national organisations.5 It was created in 1960 to provide direct help to underprivileged children who were not being helped by existing relief agencies and continues today to design and implement projects provid- ing support to children. Terre des Hommes uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a conceptual framework to guide its activities. Terre des Hommes works in countries all over the world where children are in danger or being subjected to serious abuse. Its campaign against child trafficking has involved alerting public opinion to the issue and developing practical responses to prevent child trafficking, to protect children who are particularly at risk of being trafficked and to assist children who have already been trafficked. Many of the examples cited in this study come from Terre des Hommes’ experience, while others are drawn from the experiences of other organisations engaged in similar work. In particular, information about children trafficked on a ship called the Etireno in West Africa in April 2001 is drawn from Terre des Hommes as well as public sources. The aim of the study is to draw conclusions that are rel- evant for everyone. Kids as Commodities? 15 Terre des Hommes
  16. 16. Chapter 2 What is ‘child trafficking’? T rafficking involves to an illicit trade, usually taking goods across a frontier. Traditionally, it referred to illegal transfers of weapons (gun running) and more friends, across a social frontier, making it easier to exploit them and difficult for them to escape. recently to drug smuggling. Since 1990 there have also Trafficking children or adults is a violation of human been an increasing number of references to ‘trafficking rights and a crime. However, trafficking is the down side in people’, ‘human trafficking’ and ‘trafficking in women of something much larger – migration, which involves and children’, as well as specific references to ‘child traf- people moving from one place to another and one ficking’. country to another in search of a better life. The phrase ‘child trafficking’ itself puts the emphasis on Trafficking in the context of migration the way children are moved. But trafficking children or adults is inextricably associated with their subsequent There is nothing new about people moving within their exploitation by others in a way that violates their human country or between countries or continents. Some do it rights –usually by being forced to make money for them on a temporary basis, others permanently. People by working, but in the case of babies who are trafficked emigrate when the economy at home is in crisis or as a for adoption and young women trafficked for marriage, result of rapid population growth, or simply because to satisfy the demands of those who take control of attractive opportunities exist elsewhere. them in other ways. To understand what is involved it is necessary to look at the forms of exploitation In addition to obstacles placed in their way by govern- experienced by children. Children are used in different ments, there are a host of human sharks ready to take ways according to their age and gender. Older children, advantage of migrants. The challenge for individuals who aged 15 to 17, are exploited in much the same ways as migrate is to ensure that they benefit from the move, as young adults and the degrees of coercion required to well as making money for the people they work for or keep them under control are similar. The most those who lend them money to finance their trip. notorious ways in which adults make use of trafficked children involve girls (and some boys) having to have sex Children are no exception to the rule that people are on with adults, and children working in captivity, generally the move and there is no reason why they should not in small workshops in the secrecy of people’s homes, leave home and migrate, either with relatives or alone, but sometimes in public, begging on the streets. once they are old enough to make informed decisions about their future. Some children are dispatched by their In the case of adults, the trafficking process itself in- families. Some chose to leave home themselves. Many volves coercion or deception. However, it is generally children leave as a result of crises, war and natural dis- easier to make children do what they are told than adults, asters. Only a minority are ‘stolen’ (kidnapped) or sold. particularly younger children. Consequently the degree Noting the significance of this difference, some counter- of coercion required to make children accompany a traf- trafficking specialists distinguish between ‘hard’ traffick- ficker or to do what they are told later on is significantly ing, involving abductions or fraudulent deception, and less than the coercion required to control adults. Taking ‘soft’ trafficking, in which a child leaves home deliberately control of other people’s children and making money as a result of a decision made by the child or his or her out of them is what trafficking is about. However, dif- parents. The distinction is important when it comes to ficulties experienced in defining the nature of the control deciding how to address the different situations. exerted over children by people other than their own parents have led to serious short-comings in the There is little agreement on what age children should definitions of the offence of child trafficking in both reach before leaving home to work elsewhere. A few think international and national laws.6 they should be at least 18. Some argue that it is reason- able for children to leave home to work once they reach The recent focus on trafficking has put the limelight on the minimum age for legal employment in their country.7 children being taken across international frontiers. This Many child rights advocates use a less mechanical yard- reflects the preoccupation that governments have with stick and argue that children should be allowed to migrate immigration control. From the point of view of children if their basic rights will be respected subsequently: their who leave home and are subjected to exploitation, how- rights to keep their identity, to basic freedoms and to ever, it is not the crossing of an international frontier personal development,8 to receive an education and to that is critical; the key point is that children are moved integrate into wider society, and to survive and get medi- away from the relative protection of their family and cal attention when necessary. However, migrants of Kids as Commodities? 16 Terre des Hommes
  17. 17. all ages are at risk of being abused and migrant children A CASE STUDY – THE ETIRENO are especially vulnerable. In reality, it seems unlikely that (2001) children dispatched to work away from home before the Over Easter weekend in April 2001 a story flashed around the world about a ‘slave age of 10 will have their basic ship’, the Etireno, off the coast of Nigeria in West Africa. Journalists reported that several hundred slave children were on board. The reality turned out to be different rights respected; it is conse- and was a classic case of trafficking in West Africa, where young children are routinely quently difficult to believe employed far from home as domestic servants and in other menial jobs, sometimes that they will be better off paid, and sometimes not. Hundreds are taken each year from countries in West Africa than at home, however poor such as Bénin* and Togo across the sea to Gabon, a richer oil-exporting country. They are usually taken across a land border to Nigeria and then on by canoe to the quality of life is there. Gabon, across 500 kilometres of open sea. In most cases, they work for other West Africans in Gabon’s capital, Libreville. Only some children who mi- When the ship, the Etireno, arrived back at its port of departure, Cotonou in Bénin, grate are trafficked. However, on 17 April 2001, 43 children disembarked: 23 were aged between five and 14, and millions of migrant children were taken to Terre des Hommes’ Oasis accommodation shelter in Cotonou, while end up being subjected to 17 older boys over the age of 14 were placed under the protection of another NGO, abusive forms of exploita- SOS Children’s Village; three babies remained with the women accompanying them. Western journalists reported that there were far fewer children than expected and that tion. Governments have a they did not look like slaves. responsibility to protect all unaccompanied Among the 40 children aged between five and 17, 16 were girls and 24 boys. The migrant children against children were cared for at the two transit homes and by October 2001 23 had been reunited with their families in their respective countries. Once safe, the children were abuse, but often fail to meet questioned about their experiences and a report was passed to the police about what their responsibilities, especial- had happened to each of them. The following facts came to light: ly when the children involved come from other countries. • All 16 girls, along with seven of the 24 boys, were under 15; Many • 17 of the 24 boys were older teenagers (aged 15 to 17); governments have adopted policies which have the effect • Nine children had been travelling with one of their parents, while 31 were of promoting or facilitating unaccompanied; trafficking. This is not the • 13 thought they had one or both parents already in Gabon; same thing as failing to take action against trafficking. • 13 of the 40 were from Bénin, eight from neighbouring Togo and 19 from Rather, it demonstrates that much further afield: 17 from Mali, one from Guinea and one from Senegal; trafficking occurs in part as • All but two of the 40 knew they were going to Gabon to work there; a by product of efforts by governments to manage their • Five were aware that a financial transaction had taken place before they left economies and societies. home; a further eight reported that they had been accompanied by an adult they did not know, who was taking them to work in Gabon; The efforts of the authorities • Four accompanied by an adult from their village in Bénin were expecting to in industrialised countries work for at least eight years in Gabon to pay off the costs of their trip; to prevent immigrants from • Two girls and two boys said they had paid between 100,000 and 250,000 entering their countries and CFA Francs (US$215 and US$535) each to make the trip from Togo. working legally mean that would-be migrants resort to The conclusion was that 35 out of the 40 children were being trafficked to Gabon illegal means to move from (18 of the 23 under 15-year-olds and all 17 older boys). By the time the facts were one country to another. Like- known, media interest had waned. In the same year, the Oasis shelter took in 304 wise, the unwillingness of the other children who had been trafficked within Bénin, without going abroad. Meanwhile, authorities in most countries hundreds of children continued to be imported into Gabon by the traditional route. Two years later, in September 2003, the shelters in Bénin were once again hard to regulate the sex industry at work: more than a hundred Béninois children, aged from seven to 16, were has had the effect of creat- found working in granite quarries near the Nigerian city of Abeokuta, and required ing a black market in which accommodation after the authorities brought them back to Bénin. slavery and trafficking thrive, involving teenagers as well as *The Republic of Benin, once known as Dahomey, is referred to throughout this book as ‘Bénin’, adults as victims. Removing to distinguish it from the city of Benin in neighbouring Nigeria (the capital of the pre-colonial Kingdom of Benin), which has also achieved some notoriety as a result of teenage girls and border restrictions or mak- young women being trafficked into prostitution in Italy and other European countries. ing the sex industry legal and subjecting it to workplace Kids as Commodities? 17 Terre des Hommes
  18. 18. labour standards would not put a stop to trafficking, but philes.10 The ease with which the citizens of wealthy coun- would affect the situation in which traffickers currently tries can travel means that sex tourists fly to other conti- exploit loopholes in the law to make their profits. nents to buy sex. However, they account for a relatively small proportion of the men who look for child partners Is child trafficking something new? when paying for sex. Along with the long-standing male interest in some cultures with ‘deflowering a virgin’, Many migrants end up trapped in menial jobs which they since the 1980s fear of HIV/AIDS has resulted in men are not allowed to leave by their employer, in particular in different continents preferring to pay for commercial when they are forced by someone to work in order to sex with girls aged 15 or younger on the assumption that repay the costs of their migration. The mass migrations they are less likely to have caught HIV/AIDS than older out of Europe in the late 19th Century were marked by women. In some cultures there is even a mistaken belief men, women, and children being moved into a variety of that sex with a virgin will somehow cure HIV/AIDS. situations of servitude or bondage on other continents. These (rather than the Trans-Atlantic slave trade) provide Thirdly, computer technology and the Internet have revo- a precedent for the types of exploitation associated with lutionised access to information. This allows would-be migration today. holiday-makers to view potential resorts; it also helps sex tourists choose the destination they prefer for purchasing There were plenty of examples in the past of children sex with local people, including girls and boys. The from poor families being moved away from home for sim- Internet has precipitated a boom in pornography, ilar sorts of exploitation to today. As recently as the 1920s, including child pornography, and has encouraged a selling or loaning children was regarded as an acceptable phenomenon that was already, in pre-Internet days, survival technique for poor families in many countries, referred to as ‘mail order brides’. It has helped break from China - where boys and girls known as mui tsai were down the barriers between nations, but in so doing it has bought by rich families, nominally for adoption, but in facilitated exploitation and trafficking. practice to act as domestic servants9 - to Haïti - where the rural poor routinely sent their children off to the capital to Fourthly, demand for ever cheaper products on the global work as unpaid domestic servants for households slightly market fuels a downward spiral in wages, sucking in child better off than themselves (this continues today; the child workers not only because they are cheap, but also because servants are known as restaveks). In the 1920s there was they are obedient. Children trafficked away from home little agreement at international level about which of these often represent the cheapest and most malleable work cases constituted child slavery and should be stopped. At force available. that time girls from poorer families in Europe were still routinely dispatched into ‘service’ in richer households In addition to these new factors, the very meaning of the much younger that is acceptable in Europe today. term ‘child trafficking’ has recently been redefined by the United Nations, with the result that cases which were Urbanisation and industrialisation increase the demand known to be exploitative but not previously regarded for cheap labour. In the 19th Century, this resulted in a as trafficking are now being relabelled, fuelling concern demand for child labour in the cities of Europe and North that the number of children being trafficked is growing America. This is paralleled today by the high demand for exponentially. Whatever the rate of growth, the situation child labour in the manufacturing industries in India and around the world is extremely serious. It is aggravated other South Asian countries, particularly in the informal, by a completely inadequate level of response by law unregulated sector of the economy. enforcement agencies to the exploitation of children in their countries (both those who have been trafficked and Nevertheless, the patterns of child trafficking seen over others) and also the absence of any meaningful policing at the past two decades and the ways children are exploited international level. today differ from the past in important ways. Firstly, the world’s transport infrastructure has improved, with chil- Migrants, prostitution, and trafficking dren as well as adults being moved long distances easily by air. Adults pretending to be their parents take children At the beginning of the 20th Century, the concern of by air to the country where there is a demand for children; European governments about the recruitment of women for example, boys aged between five and nine are flown and girls into prostitution in foreign countries resulted in from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sudan to airports in a series of international treaties to end what was initially the Gulf, passed off as other people’s children, and then called the ‘White Slave Trade’ and later the ‘White Slave handed over to be trained as jockeys for camel races Traffic’. By the 1930s, treaties aimed at ending the recruit- ment of women and girls into prostitution used the word Secondly, various factors have increased the demand for ‘traffic’ in English, while in French, Spanish and other children for sexual exploitation, both as young prostitutes languages they referred to ‘trade’, resulting in a confusion and, even younger, for secret exploitation by paedo- over terminology that continues today. From the end of Kids as Commodities? 18 Terre des Hommes
  19. 19. the 1940s until the 1980s, the term ‘trafficking’, whether many reminiscent of slavery but which are nevertheless applied to adults or children, generally referred to their condoned or accepted by the public. recruitment into prostitution, nowadays also referred to as ‘sex work’ and ‘commercial sexual exploitation’. They The difference between the trafficking of were considered to be victims of trafficking whether they children and trafficking of adult women were recruited into prostitution with their consent or against their will. Exploitation in the commercial At both national and international level, the trafficking sex business continues to be associated with many cases of girls and boys has been treated as if it was the same as of child trafficking, especially of teenage girls, but in the the trafficking of adult women, as if they all experienced course of the 1990s there came a creeping realisation that the same abuse and required the same sorts of protection. girls, boys, and adults of both sexes were all being moved This approach demeans adult women, implying that they in large numbers, between countries and within their own are just as dependent and vulnerable as children. It also countries, in order to be exploited in a range of ways, means that specific needs that children have are not being usually so that others could make money out of them. addressed. The vulnerability of children that traffickers and others exploit concerns their reduced capacity to A recent report published by the United Nations (UN), assess risk, to articulate and voice their worries (about Abolishing Slavery and its Contemporary Forms (2002), suggests being exposed to danger) and to look after themselves that “The trafficking of persons today can be viewed as (both in the sense of being able to meet their own needs the modern equivalent of the slave trade of the nineteenth to find food and shelter and to take action in self- century.” defence). Young children have a very limited capacity to do any of these things and are consequently dependent on In the late 1990s the UN began discussing a new inter- adults or older children, a dependency which traffickers national treaty aimed at fighting cross-border crime, take advantage of. The capacity of children to recognise including human trafficking. In November 2000 the UN risk and look after themselves increases as they get older General Assembly adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and is deemed to have reached an ‘adult level’ by the time and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and they turn 18, although young adults of 18 or 19 remain Children (the Trafficking Protocol), linked to the UN more vulnerable in this respect than older adults. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which was adopted at the same time. The UN also adopted a Protocol There are also important distinctions to make between against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, trying categories of children who are trafficked. The key var- to establish a distinction between migrants who are helped iables here are gender (girls versus boys) and age (distin- to cross frontiers illegally (‘smuggled’), and others trapped guishing between adolescents who are almost adult and in some form of exploitation after being moved, usually younger children). Although international standards are after being coerced or tricked (‘trafficked’). The distinct- unequivocal in defining all young people below the age ion was not helped by the translators’ decision to use the of 18 as children, the UN body that guards the standards word meaning ‘traffic’ in French and Spanish to refer to for children’s rights, the Committee on the Rights of ‘smuggling of migrants’ rather than to human trafficking.11 the Child, has recognised that adolescents have different needs to younger children and that different measures are In the definitions adopted by the UN in 2000, a distinct- required to ensure their rights are respected. This is cert- ion was made between the criteria for determining ainly true for adolescents who are exploited by traffickers. whether an adult had been trafficked and those for Young people aged 15 and older are already bread winners assessing the cases of children, who were defined by in many societies and may be used to making decisions international law to include both adolescents and younger about their own lives. They have the same right to seek children. In the case of everyone under 18, the Trafficking a better life as adults. This does not mean, however, that Protocol asserts that any forms of recruitment amount to governments can abdicate responsibility for giving them trafficking if the children or young people are subsequent- the protection to which their age entitles them. ly subjected to various forms of exploitation judged to be abusive, whether the child involved is a helpless five-year- Different ways of trafficking children old or a mature teenager. The term ‘trafficking’ disguises the fact that the ways As we shall see throughout this study, different views of children are recruited and moved vary a great deal from what constitutes trafficking have had an important impact one region to another and according to the age and profile on the action that both governments and other agencies ofthe children for whom there is demand. Younger child- take to stop trafficking. The old idea that trafficking is ren are frequently presented to immigration authorities as just about recruitment into the commercial sex business the children of the adults accompanying them. In India, still makes it difficult to get the message across to govern- for example, both young Indians and young Bangladeshis ments, police and the general public that trafficking in- have been kept in seclusion while they are trained in a volves a wide range of unacceptable forms of exploitation, story to tell officials, in case they are questioned while Kids as Commodities? 19 Terre des Hommes
  20. 20. leaving India or entering another country. that young women from Edo State are being trafficked into prostitution in Italy and other EU countries, with While cases do occur of children being abducted, the the result that they have overlooked other cases involving more blatant of these constitute something different to children trafficked within Nigeria and into Nigeria from trafficking. They have involved, for example, more than neighbouring countries. 11,000 children and women abducted during Sudan’s 20- year-long civil war and even larger numbers of children However, it is worth giving some idea of the extent of abducted and forcibly recruited into the ranks of an in- child trafficking and the variety of purposes for which surgent group in Northern Uganda. The political violence children are being moved. At a conference organised in characterising these two cases distinguishes them from Italy by Terre des Hommes and other organisations in July trafficking and the solutions are correspondingly different. 2002, the following patterns were noted. Among the several hundred thousand children recruited into armies and insurgent groups around the world, some European Union are trafficked.12 This recruitment has its own specific Children are trafficked to many EU countries, in partic- characteristics and remedies, which are not dealt with in ular from countries in West Africa and Eastern Europe. this study, as it focuses on trafficking with a profit-making Teenage girls from Eastern Europe are exploited in motive. prostitution, while boys and girls are used to earn money through begging or theft in EU countries. Some children In the case of younger children living with their own fam- are trafficked to France and the United Kingdom to work ilies, trafficking usually starts with the visit of a recruit- as unpaid domestics or to be involved in fraudulent social ment agent, often a relative, who spins the family a story security claims. of the wonderful prospects awaiting the child who accompanies him or her. While a degree of deception may Central and South America be involved, it would be absurd to assume that all poor Trafficking for adoption has occurred from Central Amer- parents or village dwellers are so stupid as to misunder- ica, most notoriously in the aftermath of armed conflicts stand the realities of migration. Rather, they allow their in El Salvador and Guatemala, and also from Andean children to leave in the hope that they will find work and countries. Babies have been taken both to North America end up better off than others. They also hope that money and to Europe. Trafficking for economic exploitation handed over on the spot by the agent, or future also takes place within large countries such as Brazil, and remittances, will help their household survive. across borders, for example from Bolivia to Chile. Adolescents too are wooed by recruitment agents, but South Asia are more likely to make the decision to leave home them- Children in India are trafficked from rural areas to cities selves, with or without consulting with their parents or into a variety of exploitative situations, including prostit- relatives, depending on how good relations between ution, and are trafficked to work in rural-based industries them are. In some societies, adolescents remain such as carpet making in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Similar obedient and leave home when a parent suggests it. In cases occur in Pakistan. Indian brothels take girls from others, adolescents are keen to leave, and the poor state Nepal and Bangladesh. Boys from South Asian countries of their relationship with one or other parent is often a are taken west to work in the Gulf as camel jockeys. Child factor in their decision to leave. labour recruiters in South Asia use loans to poor parents to ‘bond’ children; there is an overlap between child Patterns of cross-border trafficking around trafficking and what has been denounced in South Asia the world as ‘child bonded labour’, as well as with the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Trafficking occurs within countries as well as across borders, but the term trafficking is thought by many in South East Asia government and the media to refer only to cross-border The trafficking of girls into prostitution has achieved the cases. Sometimes children are trafficked in opposite direc- highest profile in this region. Thailand is the most notori- tions across the same border, as in the case of the frontier ous case, with girls recruited in rural areas and neighbour- between India and Nepal, which is infamous for the thou- ing countries. A similar pattern developed in Cambodia in sands of Nepali girls trafficked each year into India’s sex the 1990s. Teenage girls in Vietnam have been trafficked industry, but which Indian children are also taken across to China to be forcibly married or to work. Children are to work as servants in Nepal. The wide range of uses to brought from the southern islands in the Philippines to which trafficked children are put are described in the next the capital, Metro-Manila, where they are exploited as chapter. There is a danger in focusing on only the best- domestics or prostitutes. Children in Indonesia are known child trafficking routes, as huge numbers of other reported to be trafficked for both sexual and economic cases may be overlooked. For example, in Nigeria the exploitation, within Indonesia and abroad. authorities have recently been preoccupied by complaints Kids as Commodities? 20 Terre des Hommes
  21. 21. West Africa Two particular routes and forms of exploitation have re- ceived attention: • adolescent boys from Mali and Burkina Faso work on farms in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast); • younger girls from Bénin and Togo are taken to Gabon and Nigeria to work as domestic servants. Southern Africa Children are moved both within South Africa and from countries further north into South Africa, particularly to areas offering economic opportunities, Gauteng and the Western Cape. Most are young girls forced into prostit- ution How many children are trafficked each year? It is hard to come up with meaningful estimates of the numbers of children trafficked into or out of a particular country or region, yet alone in the whole world. When statistics are published, they usually refer exclusively to children who have been trafficked across borders, rather than also counting children trafficked within their own countries. The difficulties of producing meaningful statistics are examined in Chapter 11. In 2002 the ILO’s Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO- IPEC) felt it had gathered enough evidence to make an estimate of the global dimensions of child trafficking and estimated that out of a total of 8.4 million boys and girls engaged in what were called the ‘unconditional worst forms of child labour’, 1.2 million had been trafficked.13 Kids as Commodities? 21 Terre des Hommes
  22. 22. Child trafficking is a world-wide phenomenon Diagram 1: Terre des Hommes findings ���� ������� ����� ������� ���� ��������� ����� ���� ����� �������� ���������� ����� �������������� ������������������������������� Kids as Commodities? 22 Terre des Hommes